Year of Polygamy: The Scandal of Soldiers, Wives, and Sex, Episode 42


TW: This podcast contains some discussions of rape.

Join Lindsay as she discusses how women’s sexuality became the catalyst for a decade or more of Mormon violence, and the curious Victorian scandal involving Brigham Young’s daughter-in-law and a “Gentile” soldier.

Links and text mentioned and read in this podcast:

The must-read essay by historian William MacKinnon:

Sex, Subalterns, and Steptoe: Army Behavior, Mormon Rage, and Utah War Anxieties

Additional info from the LDS Church History Library Here.


15 thoughts on “Year of Polygamy: The Scandal of Soldiers, Wives, and Sex, Episode 42

  1. I’m reading through the essay now and I’m at the part in Mowry’s letters where he says this: “They are jealous lecherous and revengeful in all that concerns women I believe.
    It will require tact and shrewdness on the part of woman and man to conduct an intrigue successful[l]y, but I think it can be done….”

    I interpret this slightly differently than you, Lindsay, I think; if in a very subtle and nuanced way. I see it as him saying that for a woman and man (such as himself) to get together for intimacy/sex (“Intrigue”) it requires a lot of careful tact because the Mormons are very jealous and vengeful and, apparently, have a strong “system of espionage,” or spies, to watch out for the females.

  2. Still reading.

    Lindsay, did you see this footnote on page 238 about Mary J. Ayers Young? >> “For an interesting interview with her about her views of the Utah War and Mountain Meadows massacre, see “Brigham Young’s Home a Dove Cote, Says wife of Son” Los Angeles Herald, April 11, 1919.”

    Did you look into this source?

    1. No! I must have skipped past that. Thank you so much for the heads up. Let me know if you find anything else.

    1. Actually, the footnote I mentioned above says some things about her life, including the facts that she stayed married to Young until he died, then she married a Louis Demotte Bunce else and moved to California. It sounds like she and her husband moved out there together, probably with at least some, if not all her children, depending on how old they were.

  3. It looks like a biography of her husband exists:

    She had 10 children with him, four of whom died in infancy. He had two other wives and children with them as well. He died at the age of 40, and at that time she had a 20 year old and the remainder of her children were under 14. The youngest was 3 and an infant had just died. I’m not sure what happened to all of his wives and children when he died, but more than one of her children died in California so at some point she moved to California with some of them.

  4. I’m sorry. He didn’t fall in love with her, he fell in love with her pussy. Just like any other soldier.

    The whole scandal was that he tried to bone her and got caught before he could get her naked. If he had pumped her and got away with it he would have been all happy and moved on to the next available sweet spot

  5. This has nothing to do with polygamy. It is only about parents trying to keep their daughters from getting used and then cast aside by soldiers traveling through. You tell it like he pines away for her when he is out in the boonies. – Yet all the while he has found a nice source for local pussy so he doesn’t run dry. Think about those girls – do they not deserve respect? The way you tell this tale is totally distorted. It is nothing but the age old story of bad men taking advantage of newly horny young women so they can get their pants of and then throw them away. Still happens every day today.

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